Province once again proclaims “GEORGE RYGA WEEKS”

For the twentieth time since the turn of the millenium, representatives of Queen Elizabeth II and of the British Columbia government have issued a formal proclamation to honour George Ryga, the great Canadian writer who lived and worked in the picturesque town of Summerland from the 1960s until his death in 1987.

But this is the first time that George Ryga will be celebrated officially for longer than one week. According to the proclamation, the days between August 14 and 27, 2020, “shall be known as GEORGE RYGA WEEKS in British Columbia.”

The dates coincide roughly with the fifth annual Ryga Arts Festival, which starts on Saturday, August 15 and runs for eight days. Inspired by George Ryga, the Festival celebrates creativity in music, the spoken or written word, and in performance. Due to Covid-19, most Festival events will be available beyond the Okanagan to a worldwide audience; for a schedule and to buy tickets, visit: https://rygafest.ca/festival.html

You will find information about George Ryga, whose novels, plays and scripts portrayed ordinary people pushed to the margins of society: immigrants, like his parents, Indigenous friends he grew up with, struggling artists he fought for, the poor and exploited he saw in Canada and in the countries he visited. From the 1960s to the 1980s Ryga was Canada’s most popular and significant playwright with ground-breaking works like The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and Grass and Wild Strawberries.

That’s the legacy we celebrate during George Ryga Weeks.


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